- Category: Edward John Eyre - Vol 1 - Ch 14
- Written by Edward John Eyre
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January 10. — WE left Yeer-kumban-kauwe early, and proceeding to the westward, passed through an open level tract of country, of from three to four hundred feet in elevation, and terminating seawards abruptly, in bold and overhanging cliffs, which had been remarked by Captain Flinders, but which upon our nearer approach, presented nothing very remarkable in appearance, being only the sudden termination of a perfectly level country, with its outer face washed, steep and precipitous, by the unceasing lash of the southern ocean. The upper surface of this country, like that of all we had passed through lately, consisted of a calcareous oolitic limestone, below which was a hard concrete substance of sand or of reddish soil, mixed with shells and pebbles; below this again, the principal portion of the cliff consisted of a very hard and coarse grey limestone, and under this a narrow belt of a whitish or cream-coloured substance, lying in horizontal strata; but what this was we could not yet determine, being unable to get down to it any where. The cliffs were frightfully undermined in many places, enormous masses lay dissevered from the main land by deep fissures, and appearing to require but a touch to plunge them headlong into the abyss below. Back from the sea, the country was level, tolerably open, and covered with salsolae, or low, prickly shrubs, with here and there belts of the eucalyptus dumosa. In places two or three miles back from the coast there was a great deal of grass, that at a better season of the year would have been valuable; now it was dry and sapless. No timber was visible any where, nor the slightest rise of any kind. The whole of this level region, elevated as it was above the sea, was completely coated over with small fresh water spiral shells, of two different kinds.
After travelling about twenty-five miles along the cliffs, we came all at once to innumerable pieces of beautiful flint, lying on the surface, about two hundred yards inland. This was the place at which the natives had told us they procured the flint; but how it attained so elevated a position, or by what means it became scattered over the surface in such great quantities in that particular place, could only be a matter of conjecture. There was no change whatever in the character or appearance of the country, or of the cliffs, and the latter were as steep and impracticable as ever.
Five miles beyond the flint district we turned a little inland and halted for the night upon a patch of withered grass. During the day we had been fortunate enough to find a puddle of water in a hollow of the rock left by yesterday’s rain, at which we watered the horses, and then lading out the remainder into our bucket carefully covered it up with a stone slab until our return, as I well knew, if exposed to the sun and wind, there would not be a drop left in a very few hours. Kangaroos had been seen in great numbers during the day, but we had not been able to get a shot at one. Our provisions were now nearly exhausted, and for some days we had been upon very reduced allowances, so that it was not without some degree of chagrin that we saw so many fine animals bounding unscathed around us.